- US Constitution ArtVI.C2.1
- US Constitution Amdt 4.1
- US Constitution Amdt 9.1
- US Code Title 34 § 12611
- US Code Title 49 § 33107
- SDCL 32-5 (Voluntary for US Citizens)
The answer to the question regarding if vehicle registration is required or not depends on whether or not the vehicle owner is a US Citizen.
A US Citizen is not required to register a vehicle as car plates are a voluntary theft deterrent according to the US Code. US Constitution ArtVI.C2.1 places a precedence on Federal Law meaning that Federal Law always over rides State Legislation, Municipal Codes or City Ordinances when there is a conflict.
As US Code Title 34 and US Code Title 49 both make vehicle license plates a voluntary theft deterrent, State Legislation can not make vehicle registration mandatory for a US Citizen. The US Constitution defines Citizen Rights, one of those rights is to be able to rely on the unalienable rights listed in the US Constitution to be valid within the entirety of the whole United States and another is to be able to rely on Congressional Law as valid and in force throughout the entire United States. Relying on Federal Law as “always correct” simplifies maintaining lawful conduct for a US Citizen.
In regards to Federal Law and International Treaties, an immigration contract between the United States of America and a foreign nation may require a foreign citizen living in the US to have their property registered and for any permits to participate in behaviour not allowed in their Nation of Citizenship to be documented. This would need to be examined on a case by case basis with an immigration attorney to determine if promulgated rules for a Foreign Citizen with lawful US residence places precedence on Federal Law or the Immigration Treaty.
As far as US Citizens go, per US Constitution ArtVI.C2.1 when there is a conflict between State Legislation and Congressional Law, the State Legislation will not prevail. State Judges are bound by the US Constitution to uphold this Citizen Right.
Vehicle registration is a voluntary theft deterrent per Congressional Law and the US Constitution Amdt4.1 becomes part of the promulgated rules associated with US Code Title 34 § 12611 (c)(2). In cases where the US Constitution is in conflict with Congressional Law, the US Constitution has precedence over Congressional Law.
US Constitution Amdt9.1 also becomes part of the promulgated rules associated with US Code Title 34 § 12611. Rights that are not directly enumerated in the US Constitution that are rights retained by The People; i.e. US Citizens; include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness documented in the Declaration of Independence. The People also retain rights documented in Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen 1789 (Rights of Citizens 1789) which are included as part of the Treaty of Paris 1783 and publicly published one year before the Bill of Rights 1790. All Rights listed in the Rights of Citizens 1789 existed prior to the US Constitution 1787 and Bill of Rights 1790. There is no conflict between the US Constitution and the Rights of Citizens. The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights also enumerates rights not enumerated in the US Constitution and they are valid and in force through the US ratification of the UN Charter which is an International Treaty.
Vehicle Registration and the issuance of vehicle license plates within the US is therefore voluntary and can not be mandated by State Legislation, Municipal Codes or by City Ordinances. Titling is different and separate from vehicle registration as it is a property transfer document and shows proof of ownership.